Stream Restoration Case Studies in North Carolina
Jennings, Gregory D.
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Natural stream functions in many areas of North Carolina are threatened by changes in watershed hydrology and land use, often resulting in unstable streams with poor habitat and water quality. Impacts include eroding streambanks, unsafe water supplies, impaired habitat, fish kills, flooding, loss of floodplain function, and reservoir siltation. Causes of stream impairment include channelization, increased stormwater runoff, road crossings, increased sediment loads, and loss of riparian vegetation. Over the past decade, natural resource agencies in North Carolina have adopted a natural channel design approach for restoring and enhancing unstable streams. This approach is based on the use of reference stream morphology and biology information. Permitting agencies evaluating the hydrologic, water quality, and wildlife impacts of stream restoration and mitigation projects require that designers use natural channel design approaches. These requirements have facilitated interest among many government and private organizations in learning what restoration techniques are most appropriate for local watershed conditions. Numerous stream restoration projects have been implemented recently by agencies, consultants, Universities, and citizen groups (Doll et al, 2001; Jennings et al, 2001). The purpose of this paper is to describe several stream restoration project case studies and lessons learned in North Carolina.